Archive for January, 2014

January 31, 2014

Council Increases Arts Spending by $10.5 Million Annually


For Immediate Release
Thursday, January 30th 2014


// Major milestone passed: with $6M invested in 2013 and, $4.5M added in 2014, the same amount collected by the billboard levy is now going to art. Council follows through on commitment and locks in 4 year phase-in for reaching $25 per-capita. //

“Budget Committee and Council have committed to reaching $25 per-capita in arts investment by 2017. We have backed this four year commitment with 10.5 million dollars real money for 2014. This is the same amount of revenue coming in annually from the billboard levy. My colleagues from across the spectrum have come together to support this critical step forward. This new investment will allow us to build a stronger, more economically vibrant city: a city that celebrates the talent that exists in every ward and will project our best onto the world stage.”
– Councillor Gary Crawford, Ward 36 – Scarborough South West 
“We have been working with the arts community for years to invest in arts and culture in this City. I am pleased that their patience and relentless advocacy is finally paying off in the form of a $10.5M investment this year, I look forward to seeing the fantastic work of young, diverse artists from all parts of the city working together, shaping our public spaces and showing that true voice of Toronto. To me that is a Beautiful City”
– Councillor Joe Mihevc, Ward 21 St. Paul’s West (  )

       With the same amount collected annually by the billboard levy now going to art in Toronto, a major milestone has been reached in the 13 year push to create a levy on billboards and invest these funds in arts. The billboard tax was first proposed by a diverse alliance of arts organizations titled in 2001. The coalition rallied around the idea of diversifying access to expression in public space and supports the following use of the funds:

1. Celebrating diverse voices and activating art programs across Toronto.

2. Creating and building ownership of vibrant and healthy public spaces.
3. Supporting Toronto’s living and practicing artists.
4. Building the capacity of young adults, youth and children.

In addition, the alliance recommends that arms-length funding processes such as the TAC be used wherever possible and that ongoing vigilance is applied in ensuring the Signs Unit at the City is fully funded and able to enforce the sign bylaw.

For more on the core values and funding recommendations of BeautifulCity please see:  . To see Crawford’s motion that passed council, please view: . For the slideshow that accompanied’s deputation to Budget Committee, please view:


January 30, 2014

Guest Post: Healthy, Hardy, and awwww hell.


By Adam Barrett

I know you’re an artist/administrator and therefore you don’t really get sick.  You don’t have time to get sick, even if you weren’t totally immune to disease and injury.  So this is one of those theoretical, just in case, kind of ideas.  You’re an artist. You’re invincible.  You will definitely not be coming down with any kind of repetitive stress injuries.  Promise.




And then I fractured my spine.  In a non-union dance-theatre workshop, no less. Soooooo, no benefits there.  After rushing to the emergency room, getting doped up on ill-begotten pain killers (with no help from the Mayor), and spending weeks trying to track down a doctor (I went to five, none of them taking new patients) I finally sobered up enough to remember this place.

The Artists’ Health Centre is amazing.  My first meeting with the Nurse Practitioner, Ruth Bittorf, she spent an hour with me, not the cursory 10 minutes I’d been getting with every other practitioner.  She told me flat out that I was looking at months and months and months of recovery, even after I could walk again (at least 8 weeks just for that).  She agreed with me that spending that entire time on heavy narcotics was bad, and so she talked to me about managing pain with meditation, reducing inflammation with diet, and the occasional very important heavy duty pain killer (legal this time) to remind your body what it’s like to not hurt.

The clinic has in house physiotherapy, shiatsu, naturopathic medicine, RMT, massage, psychotherapy, chiropractic, acupuncture AND a team of, you know, actual medical doctors.  Oh, and a subsidy program.

Hurting myself meant taking almost an entire year off from, not just performing, but seeing shows, and really anything that required the brain power to, say, spell properly.  Obviously, prevention is the best medicine, but if you hurt yourself make sure you have a plan, and The Artists’ Health Centre can help with that, plus they have a team that can help execute it.  With their help and a lot of work I was back on the boards in just under a year.

January 23, 2014

Guest Post: Dinner Parties, Networking, and The Long Game

adam1I met Sue at a dinner party about a million years ago. It was actually a New Years Eve Party in the very early part of the last decade. Sue was there as a University friend of the host, I was the just-off-the-boat, soon-to-be-theatre-school student boyfriend of one of the host’s other guests. It was in one of those hard loft conversions in Parkdale, before hard loft conversions in Parkdale were a thing I was willing to literally sell my teeth for  I knew anything about, and my early-twenties-self was feeling pretty darn cool at this party, full of artists and cool cats, with exposed brick and beam. Sue and I got to chatting, I telling her of my naive country-boy dreams of working in indie theatre, she patiently indulging my naivete.

Oh, those halcyon days, when you could simply enjoy meeting a new friend, without worry that they would soon be finding drunken photos of you at a family barbecue on Facebook. I don’t think we even traded emails. 

That was it. I went off to theatre school, and would occasionally see Sue at openings and other events that I had guttersniped my way into while spending my days doing roll-ups and stretching my tongue root. All the while though, I knew (hoped) that one day…one day.

Since graduating from acting school I haven’t acted nearly as much as I hoped (Mom, you were right), but I have never not worked in The Biz. I’ve slowly but surely built up a varied and schizophrenic set of credits and skills, all the while meeting people along the way, and building my network. When Sue went freelance, I told her immediately that she should hire me for stuff, but I didn’t get pushy about it (ok, I did. But by then we had a few good years of beers at the Fringe tent, and tunes at The Cameron under our belts).

And here is where I come to the point: We talk a lot about Networking in this insane world of creative business-building, and for ages I’ve felt like I was terrible at it. There are myriad, conflicting resources out there on the internet for how to leverage your connections into contracts. But none of that has ever worked for me. The whole thing makes me feel slimy and smarmy, and a bit like I’m taking advantage of people.  Most of the people I work with now are folks that I have spent years building a relationship with. NOT talking about work, or my vast array of digital skills. NOT talking about art. Talking about anything but The Things We Do (though sometimes those too, but only because we really love them). And that is the long game. Over a decade later, when Sue asked me to fill in for a bit while Lisa went off and took over the world worked another gig for a bit, it wasn’t because she has ever seen my resume. It’s because she’s seen my work, and – maybe more importantly— knows that we can talk about something other than work for longer than ten minutes. Because we have spent more than ten minutes talking.

So the next time you meet somebody you want to work for/hire/collaborate with, skip the two days later email with resume attached for no reason other than ‘for your records’. Lay off on the LinkedIn invitations. Don’t invite me to your opening. Send me a set of cat gifs, not your online portfolio.

Play the long game. It’s way more fun.

January 20, 2014

Guest Post: When was that show again?

adam1by Adam Barrett

I have a little request for everybody. Put the year on your poster.

I know, I know. BUT THE DESIGN!!! you cry, and I’ve spent enough time balancing typographic brilliance with the enormous list of Fringe dates and times on a poster to feel your pain here. But I also work as an archivist for theatre, and I am eternally grateful when a designer in 1978 thought to include the little things, like the date.

One day, far in the future, you will no longer be a Fierce Indie Theatre Neophyte. One day you will be a Fierce Indie Theatre Veteran. Perhaps even one of the To Be Lauded. And when that happens, you will hire some young keen-but-under-employed actor/administrator/tech geek to Archive your life’s opus. Or somebody will do a masters thesis on your little known early work. Or whatever. Your work will live after the show closes, and whoever ends up putting it all into a spreadsheet will thank you for a small little date, shown in the bottom corner of the poster.

Theatre is ephemeral by nature; the show happens in the room, and only in the room (have you looked at those archival tapes you keep making? They’re not the same as the show, are they?). But as a Community, as an industry, it’s important to remember ourselves after the fact. And part of remembering your work will be remembering when it happened. When a Facebook event has passed, or when your twitter feed has scrolled past into oblivion, how will people remember your work?

January 16, 2014

Expect Theatre, Next Stage, Shaw Street School – out loud.


Click to go into Artscape YoungPlace

Click to go into Artscape YoungPlace



Thinking out loud (or via blog post) means you have to do it.

January 15, 2014

Blog Update: 01/15/14 AKA “Hey, what happened to your blog?”

carpal-tunnel-syndrome-medicinenet.com_-300x284I’ve been MIA for a couple of weeks.

Truth be told – I’ve given myself a nasty case of carpal tunnel syndrome up past my elbows. By the time I have a chance to write a blog post it’s (quoting myself) “Carpal tunnel so stupid today that anything I write looks like it should include directions to find the body, or to take this 2X daily til Rx finished.

So extra typing is gone by the wayside for the moment. My  clients currently get my best typing. Carpal tunnel for me is I guess kind of like laryngitis for a singer.

I’ll be working on getting some guest posts up and figuring out how to do some sort of audio posts as well and fixing this – ailment.  So pleased bear with me, because I like blogging and I like you guys. But that’s where it’s at right now.  I am still sharing stuff on Twitter, and my Facebook page if you want to take a peek there as well.

I’ll be back soon. In the meantime: How Theaters Can Combat the Stay-at-Home Mindset.

January 7, 2014

Next Stage Theatre Festival Opens Tomorrow!

straight from the Toronto Fringe newletter to you! See you in the (HEATED!) beer tent!

Next Stage Theatre Festival Opens Tomorrow!

Duff MacDonald, Ryan Rogerson and Christina Gordon backstage

Killer Business getting ready in the wings (Photo by Liz Gareri)


Release the Stars: The Ballad of Randy and Evi Quaid (Photo by Marco Timpano)


Tablework with cast and crew of Rifles


Jack Your Body in rehearsal

Starting tomorrow.

The final props are being assembled. Costume pieces are being touched up. Musical numbers are being finalized. Pulses are beating and the energy is high – NSTF artists are ready to bring you some unforgettable indie theatre!

The Next Stage Theatre Festival
Presented by Toronto Fringe
January 8 – 19th at Factory Theatre
Tickets $10 (Antechamber) and $15 (Studio/Main)
Read about all shows here

Showcasing some of the most polished, professional and dynamic theatre we have ever offered, NSTF 2014 is going to chase your post-holiday blues away. Where else do you get to mix and match a viewing schedule with Broadway performers, Governor General’s Award-winning playwrights, existential polar bears, urban street dance and more?!



1. Connect with us
Make sure you’re following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to catch all the updates, insider tips and festival details.

2. Value Passes
If you’re on a tight budget or intend to see more than 4 shows, consider buying a NSTF Value Pass for savings of up to $32. Read more here.

3. The January is the New July Party
On January 11th at the heated McAuslan Beer Tent, join us for free dessert and craft beer samples courtesy of our festival sponsor, McAuslan Brewery. The party starts at 8pm and goes until 11pm, so you can pair your evening’s theatregoing with delicious treats!


Coming from out of town? Book at the Yorkville Holiday Inn with our special promo code: FRI. Click here to book.


NSTF Selfless Selfie Campaign

Keith Cole

Selfless Selfie for Fringe: performer Keith Cole

Jaymz Bee crop

Selfless Selfie for Fringe: local artist Jaymz Bee

New Year’s Resolution: BE MORE SELFLESS
New Year’s Resolution: SUPPORT THE ARTS
New Year’s Resolution: TAKE MORE SELFIES…?

Start your 2014 on a Selfless note by donating to your favourite indie theatre festival on your smartphone.

It’s super easy. Here’s what you do:

Text fringe10 or fringe20 to 20222 to donate $10 or $20

▪ Use your phone to take a picture of yourself and send your selfie to

▪ We will share your hilariously silly photo on our social media and thank you profusely for donating!

(Your generous donation will be added to your next phone bill.)

Thank you for donating to The Fringe!

January 2, 2014

Snapping to Attention, What Marketing Needs and 2014 clients

Happy New Year! And at the same time ““It seems wrong and unfair that Christmas, with its stressful and unmanageable financial and emotional challenges, should first be forced upon one wholly against one’s will, then rudely snatched away just when one is starting to get into it. Was really beginning to enjoy the feeling that normal service was suspended and it was OK to lie in bed as long as you want, put anything you fancy into your mouth, and drink alcohol whenever it should pass your way, even in the mornings. Now, suddenly we are all supposed to snap into self-discipline like lean teenage greyhounds.” – Bridget Jones


Very proud to be named again in Charlebois Post’s CHAR-PR Prizes,  for best PR, single production.this year for Bound to Create’s dirty butterfly.  Proud to be in such good company.

I’ve been reading Ann Handley’s blog for a bit and saved this one. Because I love it. And it’s true.

“The most essential gift for a good marketer is a built-in, shockproof, shit detector.”

Hemingway is the author of that quote, although he said “writer” instead of “marketer.”

But I think it applies equally well to marketing, because we have a responsibility to serve our customers first, and not our CEOs or bosses or clients. We need to call them on their shit, in other words.

But hold up: Those are the people who sign our paychecks. The buck stops literally with them. Who are we to argue?

Actually, we have every right. And a kind of duty.

Why: For a business to be successful, your customers have to love your products, certainly. And for marketing to do its job, you have to make your customers love your marketing, too. Keep reading

2014 brings with it some great clients and new fantastic initiatives and shows and I am pleased to be working on them.

God Is In The Dairy – Release the Stars, part of the Next Stage Theatre Festival;

Expect Theatre – Beats + Intentions, a new three-year program that’s creating interarts ensembles for emerging artists 20 – 25

Canadian Rep Theatre – Pacomambo, the inaugural show of their inaugural season

Modern Times – Forgiveness, their 25th anniversary production.

I’m excited for this year.


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